CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The Sikeston Bulldogs reach the final for the sixth time in the six-year existence of the SEMO Conference baseball tournament.
No. 7-seed Sikeston (12-9) walloped No. 3 Kennett 20-11 in a semifinal played through continuous light rain on Saturday at Cape Central.
"We really played well against New Madrid County Central (12-2 quarterfinal win) and Kennett," said Sikeston coach Kevin Self. "Against Kennett, on a sloppy field, we made some plays on the infield, turned a couple of double plays, and they couldn't quite make the plays. That was the difference.
"We seem to really start to play well this time of year. I don't know what it is, but our kids always seem to pick it up a notch around this time. They're really starting to come together as a team and there's a lot more excitement in that dugout."
Red-hot Sikeston, winning seven of its last eight games, opened the scoring with two first-inning runs on Tyler Baker's bases-loaded single.
Three consecutive hit batsmen, with two outs, followed by a three-run triple sent Kennett ahead 3-2 after one inning.
Sikeston retook the lead at 4-3 in the top half of the second, but Kennett plated three runs in their half to recapture the lead at 6-4.
In the fourth inning, Sikeston broke the game wide open with 11 runs for a 15-6 advantage.
Baker's two-run homer, Chase Ferrell's three-run double and five bases-
loaded walks keyed the Bulldogs' big inning.
A two-strike, two-out three-run homer by Kennett in the fourth closed the gap to 15-9, but Sikeston scored two in the fifth to up the lead to 17-9.
Kennett scored single runs in the fifth and sixth and the Bulldogs tacked on three in the seventh to close out the scoring.
Scott Droddy picked up the win with 2 2/3 innings of solid relief. He gave up one run, unearned, on one hit with two strikeouts and no walks.
Leading the 12-hit Sikeston offense were Jerod Scott (2-4, two RBIs, four runs), Droddy (1-2, two RBIs, four runs), Josh Jackson (2-3, RBI, three runs), Baker (2-3, HR, six RBIs, two runs), Nick Lambert (2-2, two runs) and Ferrell (1-4, three RBIs).
The Bulldogs face top-seed Cape Central, 9-1 winner over Notre Dame, for the championship at Capaha Park today at 7:30 p.m.
No. 4-seed Notre Dame and Kennett square off for third place at 3 p.m. at Capaha Park.
No. 2 NMCC and No. 5 Jackson, whose consolation game was suspended due to weather, will resume today with the Indians leading 4-3 in the top of the third. The winner faces Poplar Bluff for fifth place at 5:15 p.m. at Capaha.
POPLAR BLUFF -- Sikeston boys finished fourth and the girls fifth in the 11-
team Poplar Bluff Invitational track meet on Friday.
On the boys side, Stephon Turner and David Stovall captured first-place medals. Turner won the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.4 seconds and Stovall won the 400 meters in 51.6 seconds.
"Stephon is running real well and is becoming the best hurdler in our area and David is coming on strong, running well in the open 400 and some relays," said Sikeston coach Jerry Dement.
Freshman Dominic Fondon placed second in the long jump with a leap of 20 feet-5 inches and Salamar Cox also finished second in the shot put with a throw of 46-11.
"He's been a pleasant surprise and he gets better each week," said Dement of Fondon.
The 800 relay team of Stovall, Brandon Wright, Brandon Washington and Tommie Strong took third in 1:33.6.
Turner posted a season-best time of 42.2 in the 300 hurdles, good for third place.
Topping the girls' point-getters were second places by the 800 and 400 relay teams.
Chasmon Herrion, Jackie Nance, Michel 'Le Flye and Lashawna Turner comprised the 800 team which recorded a 1:50 time.
That same quartet, with Jewellyn Dixon replacing Flye, ran a 50.8 time in the 4 x 100 relay.
"Our girls relay teams have been competitive all year long and they ran their best times (Friday)," said Dement. "They're ahead of where they were last year when they qualified for state."
Flye placed fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.0 and Alexia Redd took fifth in the 100 hurdles at 18.2 seconds.
"The month of May is our championship month and we're trying to make a big push towards the conference and district meets," Dement said.
The SEMO Conference meet, featuring varsity and junior varsity divisions, is scheduled for Friday at Cape Central.